Fire Risk Mitigation Environmental Economic Research

Wildfire

Dr. Wade Martin, Chairman of the Economics Department at Long Beach State University, was awarded a CSULB Multidisciplinary Research Grant to evaluate the decision making process of homeowners that are exposed to risk from wildland fires. For the past two months, in complementing my Masters studies, I have had the opportunity to work on the Fire Risk Mitigation Research Project and plan to finish out the research all the way up until publication. My main focus is Developmental Economics in the Masters Program though, still my second choice is involvement in Environmental Economics so regardless, I am still really excited to be a part of this team as I am sure much of the approach will still parallel any economic research study. To go through all the motions of every phase of research will be great so I feel really fortunate to have this opportunity!

Our focus area of study is Trinity County, up in northern California, which is a high fire risk, dense, forested area. So, summarizing our economic research study in a nutshell… “Homeowners have a variety of options to mitigate or increase their risk of loss from wildland fires. An improved understanding of their decision making process and the factors that influence their decisions will improve overall risk mitigation efforts from land management agencies and result in a more targeted risk communication message.” (From CSULB’s Office of Economics Research)

Thus far, I have been researching and annotating other economic, psychological, and sociological journals that could supplement our study, as this study seems to be very multidisciplinary, given the nature of our research. Even though we are doing economic research, there are extensive sociological and even psychological aspects that need to be accounted for in regards to analyzing the decision-making process for property owners. The past couple months we have been preparing our data collection approach to survey random samples of home and property owners in Trinity County. So far, the preparation phase tends to be much of the grunt work in laying the foundation for our research. I must say, I am looking forward to the data analysis phase of our research where we will be using an analytical statistical package called SAS, though I am sure other programs like Stata could probably accomplish the same analysis, to analyze the numerous relationships that affect the decision making process of risk mitigation. I am really interested to see though, in a time where social media is so prevalent and has become so much a part of peoples’ lives, how much of social media now really influences homeowners decisions in Trinity County for it would certainly add another dynamic to our study. Or perhaps it might not have any effect at all.

But until I our team starts receiving responses and constructing the data set. The exciting part will have to wait…

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~ by Roger Sutton on September 28, 2011.

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